President’s Trump national security team expected to discuss sending more US military force to Middle East in wake of tanker attacks
It is not yet clear how soon Trump will be briefed and when a decision will be made, the officials said.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan hinted at the discussions Friday.
“When you look at the situation, a Norwegian ship, Japanese ship, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, 15% of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, so we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate but we also need to broaden our support for this international situation,” he said.
According to the officials, the discussions are centering on the mission of deterrence and defense against Iranian aggression and what specific forces would be needed to conduct that mission.
Ground combat forces for now are not part of the discussions. The officials said additional capabilities such as Patriot missile batteries, fighter jets and ships could contribute to greater deterrence and defense against Iranian missile firings.
Last month, US Central Command sent initial forces to the region. If an additional deployment is ordered, it will essentially fill the request initially made by Gen. Frank McKenzie, the Central Command commander, in May. The initial request was for thousands of troops based on the capabilities needed, several US officials said at the time.